Ann Arbor anesthetist sentenced for stealing opioids from VA medical center

A former Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center was sentenced Nov. 9 to three years of probation for stealing controlled substances, including several types of opioids, from hospital dispensing machines, Acting United States Attorney Saima S. Mohsin said in a press release.

While Elizabeth Prophitt, age 39, of Saline, Michigan, was originally indicted on 25 counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, misrepresentation or deceit, she pleaded guilty to only five counts of obtaining controlled substances by fraud, misrepresentation or deceit, according to the plea agreement she signed July 8.

Prophitt additionally agreed to pay $1,482.90 in restitution to the VA, according to court documents.

Prophitt used her position from July 2018 to February 2019 as a surgical nurse to steal more than 2,200 vials of Schedule II & IV controlled substances — drugs classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as having highly addictive properties that are likely to be abused. These controlled substances included fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine.

In order to gain access to the drugs for her own use, Prophitt falsified patient records, abusing patient’s personal information. Prophitt would go to the hospital on days she wasn’t on the schedule or after regular working hours, often stealing the vials directly from the hospital’s substance dispensing systems.

“We will not tolerate medical professionals stealing controlled substances intended for the care of our nation’s veterans,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Gavin McClaren of the Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General’s Central Field Office said.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brandy R. McMillion, Deputy-Chief of the Justice Department’s Health Care Fraud Unit.

The investigation into Prophitt was conducted by special agents from the VA’s OIG and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master’s candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.

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